February 18, 2007: The O'Donnell Family
How can you go wrong? A beautiful city, a beautiful family, a great team - it was truly an enjoyable week. Ty was joined by Eduardo, Tanya, Paul and me. We headed to a town that is rich in history, flavor and music, making us appreciate being on the road. And we met a beautiful and amazing family.
The O'Donnell family has six children, five of whom have some form of autism. You would think that this family would complain or feel angry at the situation in some way, yet they feel like they are blessed and the most fortunate people in the world. The mother of this family shows each child love, care, affection and attention while at the same time being a good wife and helping out at the local school. She believes that each child is a special gift and a blessing. After spending just a moment with this family, you realize that she is right. Each child is so special in his or her way, and makes your heart melt until you are in love with each and every one of them. They all have special gifts and talents, and work their way into your heart just by being themselves. All of the designers felt like we, too, were blessed by being able to spend just a little time with this awesome family.
And the builder! Jimmy Jacobs of Jimmy Jacobs Custom Homes was amazing. Not only did he bring a great crew with him that worked continuously to get this beautiful house done, but he was out there working, too! I went to look for him on several occasions and couldn't find him - not because he wasn't there, but because he was framing or painting! From then on, when I needed Jimmy, I would just look for a man in a blue T-shirt working away. We knew we were in good hands!
On a personal note, it always makes an away-from-home shoot that much more enjoyable when we are visited by those we love. This week, we were visited by lots of friends and family. I got to see my stepmom, Joy, who brings just that (joy) into my life. It was so good to see her and show her around the set. We also got to meet Tanya's dad. Tanya grew up (and still lives) in Texas part of the time. I was in the workshop working on the musical notes for my karaoke room, when all of a sudden I looked up and was met with several soldiers in uniform. I have instant respect for those who fight for our country, and I felt myself standing at attention immediately. Tanya's dad is a CW5, which stands for Chief Warrant Officer, otherwise known as the Big Cheese. I know I was probably supposed to shake his hand or salute, but instead I got a great big hug! We were instant family. It was so great to meet and spend time with these tough men - and tough women, I might add! I found out in those few minutes how Tanya turned out to be such a great person - having a great dad! As it turns out, that week would be the last that Tanya's dad would wear that uniform in active duty. After 42 years of dedication, he is retiring! Congrats, Mr. McQueen!
My project this week was creating the perfect karaoke room, complete with a stage, curtains, musical notes and lots of pink! I can't give too much away, but I can tell you that all that pink in the room has a lot of different textures, and it moves around. Confused? You will just have to tune in to find out!
Ty's secret project during this build was to take care of the one child that did not have autism, who helped her mom and dad raise all of her brothers and sisters. It was so touching to see this little girl
say that she was looking forward to just "being a kid." Maybe Ty can relate: He's our team leader and always taking care of us. Maybe he needs his time to relax and play as well!